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Monday, 25 of May of 2020

Young Justice – “Alienated”

“A little less fangirl, a little more Wonder Girl.”

YJInvasionTitleCardSo here’s the thing. I knew about some of the  big reveal, which I’ll discuss after the jump (as it’s really the only big thing worth discussing out of this episode), before this episode even aired. One of the downsides of ancillary media (or, you know, the creator of the show telling us about it on his Web site) is that you can get a little spoiled. And that’s fine, it comes with the territory.

But along the lines of M’gann’s turn to gray side of the Force (as it were) and the break-up with Conner, “Alienated” uses the time skip to short circuit what would’ve been interesting and engaging storytelling and this time uses it for shock and wow factor, that leans too heavily on the ‘tell’ instead of the ‘show.’

Yes, I knew Kaldur was Black Manta’s son before this episode aired, or the description even came out, so that reveal was something of a non-starter for me. It is interesting, but only so far to watch the slow seduction that would’ve played out as Kaldur came to grips with his lineage and the eventual turn to evil. But we don’t get that.

Instead, in a brief confrontation with Dick and Conner, we find out that Tula died during a mission and Kaldur found out about his heritage (a secret kept from him by Aquaman) and went all evil. These are, in and of themselves, valid reasons for a character shift. My problem is that we don’t see Kaldur’s fall from his quiet heroism to being the second in command to a ruthless under-the-seas warlord. We’re just told about it so we can move the narrative along.

After a season of building Kaldur up, and doing it relatively well, this reveal does a disservice to the character and to the investment audiences may have placed in Kaldur (we can make a similar case for M’gann and Conner’s relationship). It can be saddening or anger-inducing, but the character justification isn’t there for it, and that’s an offensive thing on a storytelling level.

I suppose the reveal that there’s someone else trying to scare the Kroloteans off — the Competitor — should be exciting news, but given that the Competitor is in league with the Light (seriously, all of these villains have pushed aside their egos for over five years?!), I can assume it’s probably Darkseid and…I’m already bored just thinking that.

DC Nation Short – MAD TV: So the lesser members of the Justice League (read: Everyone but Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman) put on a big song-and-dance number about how those three are kind of mean to everyone else, and don’t meet the definition of a ‘superfriend’ (no helping move or rides to the airport). It’s a cute number, and I like the acknowledgment of Dick Grayson’s horrible 1980s Nightwing costume. Probably the best MAD TV short so far.

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • On the upside of Kaldur’s face heel turn, Khary Payton finds an excellent voice for the angrier Kaldur. I like how it was still clearly Kaldur but with edge and menace and not the calm serenity the character previously had.
  • Glad the big names of the JL (and Icon) are off to stand trial for wrecking a planet. Hopefully it means the team will fly solo a bit. Tired of the adults hanging around.
  • Aw. It’s the entire Bat-family. That’s cute.
  • Sorry for the weak opening quote, but it wasn’t a very quotable episode.

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